Monthly Archives: May 2015

Springtime in the Rockies??

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The valley by our campsite at Moraine Campground in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Old log cabins built prior to the establishment of the park line this valley and remain under private ownership.

The valley by our campsite at Moraine Campground in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Old log cabins built prior to the establishment of the park line this valley and remain under private ownership.

Friday, May 8th – A dog’s life.

Snow is not forecast until tomorrow so why is it snowing this morning? It’s around 6:30 and Eddie wants to go out. I put on my boots and jacket while Eddie waits impatiently pawing at the door with his right foot. Trixie growls as I roust her from under the covers. If I don’t make her go now, she’ll want to go out as soon as Eddie and I return.

As we step outside, I see our awning is sagging. I’ve been leaving it out to protect us from the rain but the unexpected snow will damage it if I leave it up much longer. As soon as T&E finish their business, I’ve got to roll it in.

Our campsite at Moraine Campground. The day after this picture was taken, we had 5” of snow by daybreak.

Our campsite at Moraine Campground. The day after this picture was taken, we had 5” of snow by daybreak.

The Zip Dee awning that came with our Airstream is supported by a bracket on each end and one in the middle. To take the awning in, I use one hand to support its weight and the other to disengage the brackets. Just this little bit of snow results in a surprising amount of weight. Once all the brackets are released, the awning usually rolls up on its own. That’s not happening because of the snow so I have to give it a little help. The snow is wet and heavy making things difficult. As I roll up the awning, it moves higher in the air and my arms begin to reach up over my head. As I do this, melted snow runs down my hands and wrists and makes its way inside my jacket sleeves. My shirt underneath becomes soaked with freezing water. I utter a few cuss words under my breath and keep going. If I let go, the awning will roll back out and I’ll have to start all over again. What an awful experience. With the awning safely stowed and my shirt soaking wet, I go back inside and find T&E snuggled back in the bed with Cindy. Dogs sure have it made (or at least ours do).

Sunday May 10th – We’re staying as long as it takes.

We arrived at Rocky Mountain National Park Wednesday and it’s been raining or snowing off and on ever since. The sun peaks out periodically but clouds continue to blanket the mountain tops. We’re staying in Moraine campground, the only campground in the park that’s open year-round. It’s still early in the season. Moraine CG is first come, first served until May 21st when reservations are accepted. We’re determined to see the mountains so we plan to stay until we have a sunny day.

This lady elk still has her winter coat. Interesting fact: Most o the baby elk are born during the same week which should occur in late May. If their births were spread out over time, it would provide predators with an easy meal every week and fewer baby elk would survive.

This lady elk still has her winter coat. Interesting fact: Most of the baby elk are born during the same week which should occur in late May. If their births were spread out over time, it would provide predators with an easy meal every week and fewer baby elk would survive.

It was 23 degrees last night and this cold front is forecast to chase away the clouds tomorrow. We’re going for a drive up to Bear Lake today. As I wait for Cindy to get ready, I walk around the campground to take photos of the elk and deer that wonder through.

While the elk in the campground appear tame, they do keep a close eye on you if you walk in their direction.

While the elk in the campground appear tame, they do keep a close eye on you if you walk in their direction.

With Cindy and T&E in the truck, we head for Bear Lake. Many of the park’s roads are still closed for the winter but we like being here this time of year. The park is empty of visitors as are the restaurants and shops in nearby Estes Park. Judging by the number of hotels and rental cabins we see, I can’t imagine how crowded this place will be in just a few more weeks.

Bear Lake is at the end of the road high up in the mountains. The snow is still deep here as evidenced by this waist-high sign along the trail.

Bear Lake is at the end of the road high up in the mountains. The snow is still deep here as evidenced by this waist-high sign along the trail.

Along our drive we see lots of wildlife. We love critter watching more than anything.

Ground squirrels such as this one are almost as fun as prairie dogs according to Trixie and Eddie.

Ground squirrels such as this one are almost as fun as prairie dogs according to Trixie and Eddie.

This bull elk has shed his winter coat and his antlers are much further along compared to the other elk we’ve seen. Their antlers can grow as much as 1-2 inches per day.

This bull elk has shed his winter coat and his antlers are much further along compared to the other elk we’ve seen. Their antlers can grow as much as 1-2 inches per day.

This is one of 2 baby Great Horned Owls we spotted on our drive.

This is one of 2 baby Great Horned Owls we spotted on our drive.

Monday May 11th – Sunny day at last!

The clouds have finally disappeared and we can see the mountain tops for the first time since arriving here last Wednesday. Tomorrow we’re heading for South Dakota, a state we’ve never been in.

It’s difficult to convey the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains in a photograph. These peaks rise to heights exceeding 14,000 feet.

It’s difficult to convey the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains in a photograph. These peaks rise to heights exceeding 14,000 feet.

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